Friday, June 5, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: F.A.C.T. Holiday Parade Float

Girl Scout Ambassador Olivia from Virginia Beach has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For the past six years, Olivia has volunteered with Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (F.A.C.T.). For her Gold Award project, Olivia expanded on what she has learned through her volunteer work and focused on raising awareness about autism to inform members of the community about the disorder and its prevalence.

Olivia built a float to represent F.A.C.T. at the Holiday Parade at the Beach. She incorporated puzzle pieces, a longtime symbol of autism, into the design. She also invited children who attend the summer camp hosted by F.A.C.T. to help her decorate the float and participate in the parade. In order to educate people about autism, Olivia attached information about the disorder to candy that she handed out to people in the crowds as she walked with the float.

“To me, autism is a different ability, not a disability, and that’s what people need to understand,” Olivia said. “I have a passion for working with children on the autism spectrum and want to become a speech language pathologist to continue working with these children.”

Olivia carefully designed the float and numbered each piece so that F.A.C.T. can reassemble the display and continue to raise awareness about autism in the parade.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Olivia to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.